External folder sync on two Macs


Having a small problem with external folder sync and could use some help.
I have Scrivener installed on two Macs (call them Mac 1 and Mac 2).
Both the project and the sync folder are in Dropbox.

  • I set up external folder sync on Mac 1 and sync.

  • I am then able to choose to sync “with External Folder Now”.

  • I close the project and exit Scrivener.

  • I then open the project on Mac 2

  • Sync “with External Folder Now” is greyed out and I cannot re-establish the link to the sync folder.

(Why do I want to do this? I want to work on the project on Mac 1, then edit on an iPad using PlainText, then resume work on Mac 2.)

I’d be grateful for any thoughts or help. I scanned the forum briefly and did not see this exact issue (apologies if I missed it).

I think what you need to do is edit the project directly from both Macs, which you can do since you’ve put the entire project in DropBox, and use the Sync function to edit on the iPad. The Sync function isn’t used to edit the project on both Macs, only the iPad.

Just be sure to close the project each Mac once you’re done working on that Mac. You’ll create big problems if it’s open on both Macs.

Do you find having the project in DropBox slows things down?

I work on an iMac and rMBP. I keep the project on each computer’s drive and back up to DropBox on both computers, in a zip file. When I go to the other computer, I unzip the latest backup and copy it over the file on the computer I’m going to work on. This way I always have two backups: one in Dropbox and one on the other Mac.

Thank you, EvPowers, for writing back. I’m may not have described my issue clearly.

I have no problem editing the project on the Macs. I am able to sync and open the project in PlainText with an iPad.

My issue is this: If it set up an external folder sync on one computer, then open the project up at another time on another computer, that existing sync relationship is not recognized. I cannot choose the “Sync -> with External Folder Now” command.

That’s where I need help.

To answer your question, I don’t notice any performance lag on Dropbox, so I’m able to work directly from the Dropbox folders on either computer.

I see what you’re saying. Sorry, I don’t know why it’s greyed out.

@kablando: This should be working, but make sure that both computers have the same path (user folder name). Scrivener looks for the folder by its path name, the only reliable way to do so, and if the second Mac has a different account name then the literal path will also be different. The settings will ask the computer to look for [b]/Users/yourname/Dropbox/The Sync Folder[/b], so when you get to the other computer, if that doesn’t exist, it fails and silently disables sync. Once it has done that you cannot re-attach to a sync folder (this is a safety precaution against trying to sync two different projects together).

If that is the problem you are running in to, try using a symbolic link to fake the other user name on the second computer. Let me know if you need instructions. I’ve used that technique extensively in the past, when I had a work computer with a different user name.

There is zero slow down with Dropbox on account of how it works. Dropbox is not a file sharing network or a remote hard drive that you can mount. You aren’t loading anything straight off of the Internet when you open stuff out of your Dropbox folder. It is physically distributing copies of everything to each computer, and once that has been done those files are as much on your computer as anything outside of the Dropbox folder. They operate at full speed. This is why you can end up with conflicted files when using Dropbox, and it also why you can use it without a ‘net connection.

Thanks for that, Amber.

Thanks, @AmberV, very clever.

Sorry to bring this thread back from the dead, but I thought I’d post here instead of starting a new post, in order to provide context for anyone else searching for this solution. AmberV, would you be able to explain how you’re using a symbolic link to do this? I know how to set up symbolic links, so that isn’t the problem. I’m just having a hard time getting my brain around the steps to set this up to get it working with Scrivener. Thanks in advance.

Sure, it’s really simple but you need admin access to make a new file in /Users. All you do is point the second user name (as a symlink) to the main account. So when various programs and scripts look for /Users/MyiMacAccount the symlink redirects it to /Users/MyMacBookAccount, instead.

Thanks, AmberV, that got me to the place I needed. My Dropbox path on my second computer (iMac with a smaller main SSD drive) was located in a custom location on a second larger internal drive, so I had to make the symlink within the Dropbox folder itself (because the path from root to Dropbox didn’t match on the two machines). I’m not sure if I handled it the most efficient way possible, but it works.